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The Archaeology of Hinkley Point C Nuclear Power Station, Somerset. Excavations in 2012-16 (Hardback)

Volume 2: The Early Medieval Cemetery

P&S History > Archaeology > British Archaeology

Imprint: Cotswold Archaeology
Series: Cotswold Archaeology Monograph
Pages: 312
Illustrations: 160
ISBN: 9781999822255
Published: 13th June 2024
Casemate UK Academic

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The cemetery was excavated in its entirety and contained the remains of around 300 individuals. Its form is shown to have many characteristics in common with other cemeteries of this period in the western British Isles, including the extended, supine posture of the deceased in simple earth-cut graves largely aligned in a west/east orientation. There were a limited number and range of grave accompaniments. Peculiarities included a concentration of intercutting burials within a small central rectangle, with the later re-use of this space for the deposition of fragments of carved stone, followed by the construction here of a wooden building. The deposition of seashells with a number of the burials appears to be a rite so far unique to this community. The stratigraphic sequence allied to radiocarbon dates on 51 individuals has enabled an unusually refined chronology, showing that the cemetery was used from the early 5th to the later 7th centuries. Measurements of the isotopes of strontium, oxygen, carbon, nitrogen and sulphur in various combinations from a selection of individuals provides insights into aspects of origin, movement and diet. Mitochondrial DNA has provided information on the maternal lineage of 44 individuals, some of whom were buried in the same grave as others of the same lineage. Material remains were sparse but provide insights into the burial practices at this time.

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